Grace Cossington Smith
1892 - 20 Dec 1984
Cossington Smith captures the drama of a crowd in 'Rushing', which depicts commuters clamouring down to the ferries of Circular Quay to get home after work. The flying scarf and fallen hat emphasise the speed at which the travellers are moving and the peril and claustrophobia of a, mostly faceless, city crowd. The steep gangplank and diagonal composition accentuates the dynamism of the painting.
A brilliant colourist, Cossington Smith’s work of the early 1920s adopts a darker palette than the vivid colours she is usually associated with. Inspired by a visit to Sydney in 1920 by the tonalist painter and teacher Max Meldrum, her paintings became studies in tone, rather than colour, a practice she had abandoned by 1925.
oil on canvas on paperboard
65.6 x 91.3 cm board; 82.3 x 106.9 x 4.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.l. corner, black oil "G.COSSINGTON.SMITH". Not dated.
© Estate of Grace Cossington Smith
Shown in 11 exhibitions
Forty-fourth Annual Exhibition of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales (1923), Exhibition Gallery Department of Public Instruction, Sydney, Aug 1923 -
Acquisitions 1967, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Mar 1968–01 Apr 1968
Grace Cossington Smith (1973-74):
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 15 Jun 1973–15 Jul 1973
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 06 Sep 1973–04 Oct 1973
- Western Australian Art Gallery, Perth 06 Dec 1973–02 Jan 1974
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 11 Jan 1974–10 Feb 1974
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 26 Mar 1974–28 Apr 1974
Aspects of Australian art: Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Art Exhibition 1976, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1976–1977
The Artist and the City:
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Grace Cossington Smith: a retrospective exhibition (2005):
Australian modern masterpieces from the Art Gallery of New South Wales:
Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013
Destination Sydney, S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 11 Dec 2015–21 Feb 2016
Referenced in 21 publications
Deborah Edwards., Australian Collection Focus: Grace Cossington Smith The Lacquer Room 1935-36, 'Secular light and the curve of the chairs', Sydney, 1999.
Deborah Hart, Grace Cossington Smith, 'A room of her own', pg. 11-25, Canberra, 2005, 21 (colour illus.), 22, 113, 114 (colour illus.), 127-128, 175.
Bruce James, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 40-51, Sydney, 2000, 43.
Craig Judd, Viewpoints: visual arts case studies, 'Aspects of figuration in Australian art 1788-1996', pg. 61-77, Port Melbourne, 1998, 71 (colour illus.). fig.no. 7.10
Robert Lindsay., Aspects of Australian Art: Art Gallery of New South Wales travelling art exhibition 1976, 'Grace Cossington Smith', Sydney, 1976, (illus.). cat.no. 31; not paginated
Denise Mimmocchi, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Making Sydney modern: the artistic shaping of the postwar city', pg. 66-85, Sydney, 2013, 83 (colour illus.), 316.
Ann Stephen, Modern times: the untold story of modernism in Australia, '6 The body at the scene of Modernism', pg. 44-55, Sydney, 2008, 45 (colour illus., detail), 46 (colour illus.).
Daniel Thomas, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 510-521, Sydney, Jan 1970, 516 (illus.), 517.
Daniel Thomas, Art and Australia, 'Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 300-312, Sydney, Mar 1967, (illus.).
The Artist & the City, Sydney, 1983, 6, 7 (illus.). cat.no. 4
City art, Victoria, 1978, 29 (illus.).
1967 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1967, 21. cat.no. 25
The Australasian, Melbourne, 18 Aug 1923, page unknown. Review of the 'Royal Art Society of New South Wales 44th Annual Exhibition' held at the Department of Public Instruction, 11 August 1923, cat.no. 90 'Rushing' 15 guineas.
Through artists' eyes: Australian suburbs and their cities 1919-1945, 'Continuity and change', pg. 35-70, Melbourne, 2004, 69, 70, 98, 99 (colour illus.), 100. illus.no. 81
Stravinsky's lunch, 'To Paint What She Saw: Grace Cossington Smith', pg. 203-334, Sydney, 1999, (colour illus.). plate no. 23
Mouse Art: Creating Art On The Computer, Sydney, 1998, (colour illus.). plate no. 12; NOTE: image located between pages 56-57
Kangaroo, London, 1997, front cover (illus.).
Art In Sight, Sydney, 1996, 141, 144, 145, 149, 151, 155, 171.
Art and Design Book 1, Sydney, 1995, 129 (illus.).
In our own image: the story of Australian art, Sydney, 1995, 103 (colour illus.).
Grace Cossington Smith, 'Centre of a city', pg. 53-61, Sydney, 1990, 54, 55 (colour illus.), 161. plate no. 18